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4 Things to Consider Before Selecting a Career

“If you love what you do , you don’t have to work a day in your life”

One of the biggest decisions you will ever make is selecting a career. This choice is likely to determine the college you attend, the degree program you enter, the kind of job you get, and the qualify of life you enjoy in the future.

There are a number of things to consider before committing yourself. You need to understand yourself, research careers that interest you, and take into account the costs and benefits of various professions.

1. Self-Analysis

Ask yourself some questions. What do you most enjoy doing? What are your strengths and abilities? What activities interest or inspire you? Are you an extrovert who likes working with people, or would you prefer a more independent job? Do you thrive under pressure, or prefer a low-stress environment?

Think about the high school subjects in which you got your best grades, the extracurricular activities in which you excelled, and hobbies that give you satisfaction. Perhaps you have had a part-time or summer job involving duties you enjoyed. These experiences should paint a fairly clear picture of what you like and the things you do well.

Students have widely varying interests, talents, and personalities. Everyone is not suited for the same types of employment. Take an honest look at yourself, and cross off your list of possible careers those that do not fit you. Ask a high school guidance counselor, teacher, or other adult you trust to rate your strengths and give you feedback on potential occupations.

A number of career-assessment tests and quizzes are available online. They measure your aptitude for various sorts of jobs, and help you identify aspects of your personality that would lend themselves to certain professions. Because your psychology plays a major role in determining what you like and dislike, some of these tests pose probing personal questions. The Career Key, the Myers-Briggs test, and the Strong Interest Inventory are among the career self-assessments you may want to consider taking.

2. Research

Look up information about jobs that match your interests, skills, and personality. Conduct web searches of words and terms related to the subjects and activities you enjoy. Find out about employment opportunities involving those things, and compile a list of careers that you find intriguing.

Research job descriptions and other information about these careers. Speak with professionals in the fields you are considering, and ask them about the joys and challenges of their jobs. Volunteer or get an internship doing work related to a career that you find interesting. The more you learn, the easier it will be to reduce the number of potential jobs on your list.

3. Costs and Rewards

It should come as no surprise that high-paying professions tend to require substantial investments of time and money. For instance, medical doctors must earn bachelor’s degrees, complete four years of medical school, and then obtain several years of specialized training before they are finally allowed to practice.

You are obviously interested in knowing how much various jobs pay. A lucrative occupation may enable you to pay off your student loans much more quickly. While everyone wants to make a good salary, the amount of money is more important to some people than it is to others. How much does it matter to you?

Keep in mind how much it costs to get the education and training required for a career. Find out which colleges and universities offer degree programs in the field. Are the schools far away, or could you save money by commuting from home?

Do not be discouraged by high tuition rates, at least not until after learning about all the financial-aid opportunities. Scholarships, grants, loans, and other types of assistance are available from the federal government, states, colleges, and private organizations. You may find that your preferred career path is not as expensive as you initially feared.

4. Job Prospects

Another factor is the number of jobs expected to be available in a profession in the future. The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the sources you can consult for such predictions.

Having a degree will not mean much if you can’t find a job in the field. Learn about a career’s trends to get an idea of future job prospects. Try to figure out whether an occupation will continue to provide the salary level you require.

There are many things to keep in mind while going through the process of selecting a career. Do not forget to continually ask yourself, “Is this something I can see myself doing every day for the rest of my life?” No matter how much a job pays, you are not likely to be happy if you don’t like the nature of the work.

Finally, remember that nothing is permanent. You can always change your mind, though it could be costly to do so. Many students change their majors during their college years. Others opt for different professions after they have worked for several years in their degree field.

If you follow all the steps, compile the necessary information, and make wise decisions, you may find yourself with a career that you love.